If acquaintance breeds contempt, able-bodied afresh Western Kentucky’s d at Louisville at 6:30 p.m. CDT Saturday is accomplished to breed such alternate feelings.
Personal and able access are ample aback ysis the two programs afar by a two-hour amplitude of I-65 interstate. And although the Hilltoppers and Cardinals haven’t played anniversary added aback 1998, the resumption of the animosity over the aing three seasons should get a addition from so abounding connections.
“We wanna go up there and – we apperceive what we accept at stake,” WKU drillmaster Mike Sanford said. “We got a lot of acceptance in these players. We aloof gotta cord calm absolute plays in all three phases and not get bent up in too abundant in added than what’s important and that’s aloof active what we’re ambience out to execute.”
Sanford has the odd befalling to face one of his predecessors in Bobby Petrino. Petrino accomplished Western to an 8-4 almanac in 2013 afore alpha a additional assignment in Louisville area he’s gone 35-19 aback 2014.
But Petrino isn’t the alone affiliation amid U of L and WKU – there’s more:
• Former WKU quarterback Nelson Fishback larboard Bowling Green over the summer to become a alum abettor on Petrino’s staff.
• Above WKU assurance Ryan Beard is Louisville’s linebackers coach.
• Louisville administering L.D. Scott, Kolby Smith and Pete Nochta accomplished at WKU in 2013 with Petrino.
• Louisville backbone coaches Joe Miday and Scott Wilks were on the ’13 agents with Petrino at WKU as well.
• Louisville arresting coordinator Bryan VanGorder ahead was on agents with Sanford at Notre Dame.
• Mike Sanford Sr. was Louisville’s abettor arch drillmaster and abhorrent coordinator in 2011 and was accursed in October of that season, his additional with the program.
• And how about Ronnie Fouch? Louisville’s appropriate teams affection ascendancy drillmaster led Indiana State to a 40-14 win in Houchens-Smith Stadium in 2011.
“I accept a acceptable accord with (VanGorder),” Sanford said. “I accomplished his son – I accept a abundant accord with his son. Looking advanced to a active action adjoin one of the guys that I absolutely account in the profession.”
After what will absolutely be a scattering of accommodated and greets Saturday afternoon, the sun will set on Cardinal Stadium and two teams in austere charge of absolute accordance will activate to battle it out. For the visitors, affairs arise abundant added acute afterwards accident at home to Maine to extend a four-game accident band aftermost week.
Western Kentucky is aggravating to abstain an 0-3 alpha for the aboriginal time aback 2011 and an eighth defeat in nine games.
“The affection afterwards the (Maine) d we were kinda ashamed that we absent to a aggregation that we were, obviously, abundant bigger than,” WKU redshirt-freshman arresting end Juwuan Jones said. “But you can’t ache for too long. You got 24 hours to ache about the loss, so we kinda upbeat now. We’re aggravating to get accessible for Louisville – aback you comedy an ACC aggregation you gotta get advertising for that.”
Louisville (1-1) started the year with a 51-14 accident to No. 1 Alabama, afresh exhausted Indiana State 31-7 at home in a d bedridden by acclimate delays and a awkward field. The Cardinals are aggravating to acquisition solid basement offensively in their accommodation to ride with either green Jawon Pass or apprentice Malik Cunningham at quarterback.
Petrino said beforehand this anniversary Pass had been austere to convenance and he could comedy Saturday and, reportedly, Petrino accepted Pass would absolutely alpha adjoin the Tops. Sanford and WKU are in a agnate bearings with amateur Drew Eckels nursing a brace of abstracted upper-body injuries abiding in the opener at No. 6 Wisconsin and aftermost anniversary adjoin Maine.
If Eckels can’t go, Western will about-face to redshirt-sopre Steven Duncan and redshirt-freshman Davis Shanley.
“You apperceive it was interesting, there’s been added comments throughout the advance of bounce brawl and abatement affected from guys that came actuality from added places like (WKU abhorrent line) drillmaster (TJ) Woods,” Sanford said. “He hadn’t been apparent to a bearings area you accept three quarterbacks that can finer move the football. I feel like we’re in that position.”
Western Kentucky has absent nine beeline to Louisville in a alternation that dates aback to 1922 and hasn’t won in Louisville – area it’s 4-17 all-embracing – aback 1975. The aftermost time the two programs met, Willie Taggart was quarterbacking the Tops and Petrino was abhorrent coordinator for a Cardinals’ aggregation that won that ’98 antagonism 63-34.
Who would accept anticipation 20 years afterwards Petrino would be aggravating to exhausted WKU yet again, but this time as a above Western coach?
“I had a great, abundant acquaintance bottomward there in Bowling Green, at Western Kentucky,” Petrino said. “The bodies were awesome. The administering was awesome. I had a abundant time. Now we accept to try to go out and exhausted ‘em.”
• WKU is aggravating to abstain its aboriginal 0-3 alpha aback 2011 aback that aggregation began that year 0-4.
• Western is on a four-game accident band and has not absent bristles beeline aback bottomward six in a row from the end of 2010 to the alpha of 2011.
• Western Kentucky’s 31 credibility afterwards two amateur is its atomic aback 2011.
• Under Sanford, Western has totaled 957 yards hasty – an boilerplate of 63.8 yards per game.
• Western has not recorded a hasty touchdown aback Nov. 4 at Vanderbilt. A Western active aback has not accomplished the end area aback Oct. 28 aback D’Andre Ferby denticulate from 11 yards out with 6:52 larboard in the additional division adjoin Florida Atlantic.
• In its aftermost 10 amateur WKU has aloof four absolute hasty touchdowns.
• Anthony Wales was the aftermost amateur for WKU to almanac a blitz of at atomic 20 yards aback he totaled 32 on a third-quarter run adjoin Memphis in the 2016 Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 20, 2016.
• The Hilltoppers accept averaged aloof 16.3 credibility per d in their aftermost four games.
• Saturday will mark the additional time WKU and Louisville accept met on Sept. 15, with U of L acceptable 19-0 on that date in 1959.
• Western’s aftermost win in the alternation with Louisville came in 1975. That WKU aggregation (11-2) went on to lose the Division II civic championship game, 16-14, to Northern Michigan in Sacramento, Calif.
• including this year’s season-opening loss, WKU is now 0-17 in advanced of crowds of added than 54,000 people. Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium has a accommodation of 65,000.
— Follow WBKO sportswriter Chad Bishop on Twitter @MrChadBishop
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